Feeding FAQ: 3-4 months – Formula Feeding

Since being on antibiotics my 3 month daughter’s milk intake has dropped and she is reluctant to feed

My 3 month old daughter was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection 2.5 weeks ago and had to take antibiotics (Augmentin) for 1 week. During that week, her appetite reduced dramatically. She used to take 5.5oz each meal and only took 2-3oz while she was on antibiotics. She has since recovered and it’s been 1.5 weeks since her last dose of antibiotics but not only has her appetite not returned to normal, it has reduced even further. Now, she would only take 2oz and cries and cries. I have tried splitting her feeds but it’s not working. The baby clinic that I visit suggest I use a syringe to feed her the milk but my daughter would still cry and I really am not sure whether this is such a good method. Her daily intake of milk is reducing on a daily basis, from 27oz before she was ill to 20oz now. She seems to be taking less and less and not interested in milk at all especially the 7am feed. Her weight gain has been slower than before but apart from feeding problems, she seems happy. Also, in your books, you suggest the milk intake should be 2.5oz per pound. She weighs 5.3kg now, which means her daily intake should be close to 30oz but her daily intake is well below what you suggested.
At present she feeds at 7.30am 2-2.5ozs, takes a further 1oz by syringe, 10.50am 5.5ozs, 2pm 3-4ozs, 5pm 2ozs, 6.15pm 0.5-1oz but normally have to use a syringe, 10.30pm 4-5ozs. She weighs 12lbs.
She naps at 9-9.45am, 12-2pm, 4-4.20pm and is settled at 7pm.

As your daughter has recently been on antibiotics it would be sensible to take her back to your doctor and ask him to check her for any possible problems, such as oral thrush, which may be causing her reluctance to feed. This can occur as a result of antibiotic treatment. Your doctor will also be able to check that the original infection is fully cleared. Whilst it is usual for a baby to have a diminished appetite whilst ill, and it can take up to two weeks before they fully recover, her total reluctance to take much milk at all needs to be investigated.

Once she has been checked medically, and depending on the result, you may have to use some distraction techniques to get her to feed better. Walking around whilst being fed can often work well, especially if you are able to engage her attention by talking to her as well. You could also try feeding her in a quiet room, with some calming music playing. This will help you relax as well. Having a sick baby or one that appears disinterested in feeding is stressful and you are bound to tense up when it is time to feed her. She will quickly pick up on your tensions so if both of you are calm and quiet she may settle to feed a little better.

Continue to try to use split feeds to increase her intake to nearer 30ozs in 24 hours. This amount is an average to work towards but not all babies of this weight will want, or need, quite as much as that. Set yourself the target of 25ozs first and work towards that. Keep using the split feeds or top ups. As she seems reluctant to feed at 7.30am offer her a small feed at 9am, before going down for her nap, and again at mid-day. Even if she only takes 1oz each time it will all help her overall total.